There is a phrase I am fond of in the Shobogenzo fascicle 'Flowers in the Sky', which I have in my memory as "It is the time of flowers, and flowers have arrived". Well, here at City Center it is the time of bees, and bees have arrived. This gives me an excuse to pull out some pictures of the miraculous time at Tassajara, which is perhaps happening now, when the blossoms are abundant and the trees buzz.
|This bee may have missed the mark. Or maybe not.|
Actually we just heard from Keith that with the recent cold and stormy weather at Tassajara, a sycamore fell by the women's side of the bathhouse, damaging the fence but just missing the steam room. At the base of the trunk, which had been damaged in the fire of 2008, a colony of bees was found, and efforts are being made to keep the colony viable.
To celebrate the arrival of the bees here in the city, we had a ceremony of course, transplanting our noon service to the roof. Marcia, the City Center gardener and environmental steward, who is overseeing the operation on this end, had passed on some excerpts of sutras which mention bees, found by Marshall, and we chanted a couple of those alongside the Loving Kindness Meditation. Here is one of the pieces.
"All of you Bhikshus, you should receive various kinds of food and
drink as if you were taking medicine. Whether they be good or bad,
do not take more or less of them, but use them to cure hunger and
thirst and to maintain the body. Bhikshus should be the same way as
bees gathering from flowers, only taking the pollen without harming
their form or scent; receive peoples' offerings to put an end to
distress, but do not seek to obtain too much and spoil their good
hearts. Be like a wise man, who having estimated the load that suits
the strength of his ox, does not exceed that amount and exhaust its
strength." (Sutra on the Buddha's bequeathed teaching).
It was nice to have Alan, who has looked after the bees at Green Gulch for many years, and whom I met when I was tenzo through his supplying us with amazing local honey, on hand for the ceremony. The weather was pretty balmy and very suitable for being on the roof with the new hive, and we had a good-sized crowd chanting along. We even got to sing 'Happy Birthday' to Alan afterwards.